It seems that all of the sudden, the owners of Hulu, may have changed their minds about selling Hulu. Either that, or they want the bid prices to go higher, and this may be a way to do that.
Over the past week of bidding, the price gap between what the bidders are offering and what the Hulu owners are willing to accept, has widened. Bids have gone from as low as $500 million, to $2 billion, with the most serious bidders being Google, Amazon, DirecTV Group and DISH Network.
Yahoo wanted Hulu badly, too, but seeing how they’re low on cash lately, and their CEO just got fired, it was probably best for them to stay out of this one, at least until they find a proper CEO (and a vision).
We already know that Google wanted to change the bidding game, by bidding much higher, but also by asking for longer deals for the shows. However, even if the owners agree to sell it to Google, which might not have been their first choice anyway, considering they made Hulu in the first place to stave off competition from Youtube, they might want part of the deal to be Google having to act as copyright-police on their own search engine. Just like the music labels wanted Google to censor the results themselves from the search engine, so they can sign music licenses with them, Hulu owners want Google to do the same thing for their shows.
Obviously, that would be a bad move on Google’s part, because it wouldn’t grant them any favors with the crowd at large, who may not think that’s a fair trade-off. Plus, I’m sure Google has no intention of policing all their search results against piracy, just like they had no interest in policing Youtube (and they won the case with Viacom). It would probably take them a huge amount of resources to do that, so it wouldn’t be worth it for them either.
I still think Google wants Hulu badly, and they might be able to work something out with the owners, without having to censor search results to get Hulu.